Communication with people with hearing, vision, and speech disabilities must be as effective as communication with people without disabilities. Auxiliary aids and alternative formats must be provided when needed. An auxiliary aid is something that will help with communication. Alternative formats are printed materials that are presented in a way that meets your needs as a person with a disability. You cannot be charged for auxiliary aids or alternative formats. If you need an auxiliary aid or alternative format, you must request it. Be sure to make your request as soon as possible so that there is time to get it. Substitutions can be provided as long as they are effective. For example, if you request a brochure in Braille, it may be offered on tape instead. If you ask for an assistive listening device for a meeting, you may be offered CART services.
If what is offered isn't effective, explain why. Your request for CART for a town meeting may be denied at first because an interpreter has already been hired, but if you don't know sign language, the interpreter won't be effective. Braille might work for one person who is blind but not for another.
If a request can't be met, other means of communication must be explored. A meeting can be rescheduled. Portions of a large directory can be provided in Braille. Requests that create an undue burden or a fundamental alteration don't have to be provided.
People with cognitive disabilities (such as an intellectual disability, learning disabilities, etc.) are not covered under the effective communication section of the ADA but can request auxiliary aids or alternative formats as reasonable modifications.
Examples of Auxiliary Aids and
- Sign language interpreter
- Computer aided real-time transcription (CART)
- Assisting listening devices (FM and loop systems)
- Large print
- Computer disk
- Picture menu
or one of the other resources listed at the end of this guide.